Exposure assessment to solvents and leather dust in shoe manufacture sector


  • Andrea Martinelli Dipartimento di Scienze Cardio-Toraco-Vascolari e Sanità Pubblica, Università degli Studi di Padova
  • Fabiola Salamon Dipartimento di Scienze Cardio-Toraco-Vascolari e Sanità Pubblica, Università degli Studi di Padova
  • Giovanni Battista Bartolucci Già Professore Ordinario di Medicina del Lavoro, Università degli Studi di Padova
  • Mariella Carrieri Dipartimento di Scienze Cardio-Toraco-Vascolari e Sanità Pubblica, Università degli Studi di Padova




leather dust, VOCs, occupational exposure, shoe factory


Shoe factory workers are exposed to a variety of chemicals such as leather dust and solvent vapors. The aim of the study was to evaluate the exposure levels of workers to these chemicals in the production of shoes and boots in one of the most important shoe districts in Italy.

The study involved 73 subjects from 12 shoes factories of various sizes. The results showed low occupational exposure levels. In particular, the dust levels were found to be in the range 0.012-0.554 mg/m3 (mean 0.136 mg/m3), while the exposure to solvents was lower, in all cases, than the limit values ​​both considering the solvents individually or considering the mixture to which the workers were exposed (mixtures formula results in the range 0.017-0.570). The study data were comparable or, in many cases, lower than those found in both national and international studies. These data could help to characterize the current exposure of workers in relation to the prevention systems introduced and the different composition of the used products.


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